Russell Henley played in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in 2014, in his third year as a pro after a decorated college career at Georgia. Made a 40-foot birdie putt on No. 18 just to break 80 on the South Course. Missed the cut by six strokes. “I don’t really remember [much] besides just leaving the course feeling like I just got beat up,” Henley said. “I played in that one time and really struggled, and it was like, well, I’ll just not play it from now on.”
So he didn’t. He returned to Torrey Pines this week after sneaking into the U.S. Open, ranking 59th in late May when the top 60 received exemptions. Henley shot a four-under 67 to take the first-round lead after a morning fog delay that lasted 90 minutes, and that included a bogey on his opening hole that brought flashbacks to 2014. The only similarity with his other trip around Torrey South was a birdie on 18, although this one required a putt 34 feet shorter.
Also at four under was South Africa’s Louis Oosthuizen, who didn’t tee off until after 3 p.m. and had two holes left when play was suspended just before 8. Players were allowed to finish their current hole.